Myanmar gets first entry on UNESCO's World Heritage list
Myanmar's ancient Pyu kingdom cities have been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The remains of the cities of Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra in the country’s Irrawaddy basin were granted endangered status at the annual World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha on Sunday.
This is Myanmar's first entry into the UN cultural agency’s prized list.
Inclusion on the list has significant economic implications as a World Heritage Site is eligible for financial assistance toward preservation, while the status is a powerful draw for tourists.
The brick, walled and moated cities at Pyu reflect the Pyu kingdoms that flourished for over 1,000 years between 200 B.C. and 900 A.D., according to UNESCO.
Remains of the palace citadels, brick Buddhist stupas and burial grounds at the site draw around 60,000 visitors every year, according to Daw Me Me Khaing, director of the archaeology department at Myanmar’s culture ministry.
“These ancient cities built along the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) Valley belong to the Pyu, a people speaking a language closely related to Myanmar and now extinct,” UNESCO said in a statement.
Other sites given the coveted status this year include a French cave that is home to the world’s earliest known figurative drawings, and ancient terraces in the West Bank that are under threat from the Israeli separation barrier.